Bran Castle
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Bran Castle

Six centuries of history, legends and vampire stories have transformed the Transylvanian area into a kingdom shrouded in mystery and the Bran Castle in Dracula’s Castle. Today, curios people from all over the world come to see the home of the dreaded vampire count, to look for evidence of the blood-thirsty creatures, to enjoy the woven legends around it, or simply to fill up with the mysterious energy of the place.
The Bran Castle is located in one of the most beautiful regions of Romania, Transylvania, an area with dozens of fortifications and medieval castles originally built as a defense against the invaders. According to historical sources, the castle was built on a wooden fortification with money from Saxons, the inhabitants of the area, the foundations of the castle being made by the Teutonic Knights in the year 1225. Almost a hundred years later, the Saxons who were rulers of Braşov asked King Louis of Hungary’s permission to build a new fortress with their own money.

Following history’s footsteps

 

After casting out Vlad the Usurper, the King of Hungary and the sovereign of Transylvania, Sigismund of Luxembourg, offered the Fortress of Bran Castle to Mircea the Elder and his son, Mihail I, as a strategic military base. In time, however, the castle loses its strategic importance starting with the 18th century, when destiny turns it from a place of the dominium administration into a royal summer residence, and then into a museum open to curious tourists to decipher its secrets. Currently, important collections of furniture, suits, guns and armor are presented here representing the glorious past the Castle has enjoyed.

In 1930, a tunnel was built for Queen Mary, who was ill with arthritis, in order to reduce the walk between the castle and the garden. Today, the Tunnel of Time was opened to tourists, restored and ready to take them on a journey through the past, following the footsteps of the royal crown. The tunnel is provided with a lift that connects the park to the castle which is about 40 m away. The tunnel reconstruction cost nearly one million euros.

In the footsteps of the most feared vampire

 

People from around the world come to Bran Castle drawn like magnet to Dracula’s legend, a vampire count which Irish writer Bram Stocker has depicted in his famous novel “Dracula” published in 1897. Although the characters are the author’s fantasy, Count Dracula’s story and his death is based on the popular superstitions of Transylvanian inhabitants about the existence of ghosts, vampires and other forces of evil which come out at night. These relate to seemingly alive people who had a normal life, but at night, the spirit left their bodies during sleep, and until the first song of the rooster, in order to haunt the sleep of the villagers, leaving them without power. At the same time, Stocker wrote that “Nemesis (the undead and the vampires) suffer the curse of immortality,” crossing “the times multiplying the number of victims, spreading evil in the world.”

In addition, the book tells the story of a Transylvanian Count, the master of a castle high up somewhere on top of a tall rock, from where he guards the valley of the river as it winds through the Principality of Transylvania. Bran Castle is so similar with the one described in Stocker’s book or in the movies screened after his novel, that it gained the reputation throughout the world as Dracula’s castle.

Dracula is associated today with Vlad Țepes, who reigned between 1456 and 1462 in Wallachia. History historians describe Țepes as a ruthless despot, blood-thirsty, who was feared. He punished the German merchants in Braşov for not paying their taxes to the kingdom, but he was most recognized for the punishments of those sentenced to death, who were either tortured or impaled.

 

The Cave of Bats

 

Although not so well known, The Cave of Bats located in the northwestern part of the Bran platform, at 950 m altitude, enhances the mystery of the vampires, with bats often being associated with them. The Badichii Cave or the Great Cave, as it is known, shelters bat colonies. Access is made through a narrow dim light aisle that leads to a cave with a raised floor, followed by a 15-meter-long gallery ending with a chimney. In the cave you will find a stream full of marshes that flow incessantly, and impressive limestone formations, and respectively, the rooms with colored ceiling in different nuances.